Below is an interview I did this week with the new website Throwers Unite. You can read the original here.
Q. Starting off how did you get involved in hammer throwing?
A. Like most Americans, I was late to hammer. Never seeing one until I was 17 at Throw 1 Deep meet with Mike Judge. Threw hammer freshman year at University of Georgia maybe once or twice a month as I was on scholarship for discus.
Didn’t begin seriously training the event until I was 20 or 21 years old at Moorpark JC with Coach Mac. My time in Moorpark really sparked the interest in the event. Discus was always the first love but I had many legends of the sport really encourage me to give hammer a shot because they saw potential. I was also told to pick one, but that’s another topic.
Q. After you had decided to give hammer a real go where did it take you in the years that followed? (Coaches, distance thrown etc.)
A. Moorpark was only a junior college so it was inevitable that I was going to leave at some point. Coach Mac was responsible for opening my eyes to the sport and what it could do and introducing me to some of the most influential athletes and coaches in our sport. The issue came when I played football for Moorpark and we finished 10-1. I was starting strong safety and and an all conference selection. This meant I had a decision to make between a football scholarship or track. I was the number two safety on two team boards and fielding other various options as an athlete. At this time, it was clear I wanted to focus more seriously on my hammer development, so my decision was quite clearly Oregon or Ashland with Jud. Fortunately for me, the two teams I mentioned above, each got their number one choice at safety, making my decision to go with track and field much easier. I’m sure my body thanks me for it. Anyone who has followed me at all knows how highly I speak of Jud and the program he has developed at Ashland. I didn’t leave because there was any kind of issue or anything like that. It became clear to me that my ambition was to perform well at an international. Not just at a national level. When the offer was extended to us (my wife Crystal, former HT Canadian record holder), to come train with Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk, we decided it would be stupid not to. I left Moorpark summer 2003 with a 69.11m PB. I left Ashland summer 2008 with a PB of 75.97m. I left Kamloops to begin my coaching career fall 2015 with a PB of 80.31m.
Q. Could you explain some of the main differences between Dr. Bondarchuk’s training and the equivalent training that Coach Jud Logan was giving you? How did Bondarchuk allow you to perform better at an international level?
A. The biggest difference is with Jud, our training was geared towards being an athlete. With Bondarchuk, it’s geared towards being a hammer thrower. For instance in Ashland we did olympic lifting, body building, general lifting and fitness. Also very heavy. Bondarchuk Olympic lifts, much more specific exercises, but not very heavy (however, more more tonnage). That’s not a criticism towards Jud whatsoever. They just have vastly different priorities. When I finally hang up my shoes, I will go back to training exactly how I did with Jud. Bondarchuk’s training system is more sophisticated for the purposes of international competition. When he has me dialed in, I know I will be at my best when I need to be, (i.e. US Champs, Worlds, Olympics). To this day, I have only failed to achieve a SB or PB at a major championship only once. This I am very proud of. This is the mark of a good system. Yes, the athlete needs to have the mental fortitude to produce, but a good coach and system sure makes that job a lot easier.